Martin Joseph

Martin Joseph, Henry Loftis, and Bud Stephens ran a horse stealing ring in the Chickasaw Nation. In April 1882, the former two men, who were Black, developed and carried out a plan to kill Stephens, who was was white. They then took Stephens’ wife to a remote area and raped and killed her.

Joseph later confided in Loftis’s brother, William, what they had done. When William told others, Joseph killed him. When Henry Loftis confronted Joseph, he was also killed.

With witnesses to Henry’s murder and stories circulating, the search for Joseph commenced. He was arrested and taken to Fort Smith.

With considerable physical evidence and witnesses against him, Joseph was convicted in April 1883 and sentenced to death on May 5. Martin Joseph was hanged on June 29, 1883.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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